Video: Students to solve manufacturing challenge for linear motion supplier Rockford Ball ScrewKevin J. Harrigan | December 09, 2020
Students at the Northern Illinois University College of Engineering must complete a Senior Design project before graduation. The program challenges senior-year students to solve in-field manufacturing process and industrial technology challenges using the skills gathered from lessons. Students are overseen throughout the program by faculty, but actually work directly with businesses and engineers. The businesses help shape the early stages of a young engineer's career, and also benefit from the additional engineering manpower.
Rockford Ball Screw, a linear motion technology manufacturer and supplier, is guiding the work of students Anthony Ward, Shannon Duffy and Stephen Dodd. The trio visited the Rockford headquarters last September, to take stock of their engineering challenge: creating a tool that meters out various sized ball bearings and quantities. The end result would be shorter assembly times for ball nuts with both internal and external return designs.
The students are challenged to devise a solution that:
- Accommodates ball bearings between .0625 to .3750 in diameter
- Offers quick interchangeability between ball bearing feeds
- Automatically meters between 30 and 150 balls per cycle
- Is portable between workstations
- Is ergonomic for different users
The students are expected to have a functional prototype by April 2021. In many cases, participating sponsors are left with functional engineering designs that translate into manufacturing efficiencies.
At the end of the project, students display their engineering designs at a Senior Design Day exhibition in front of fellow students, faculty, sponsors and potential employers. They are also left with credible experience for their CV.
The accompanying video appears courtesy of NIU.